The mid-week news brought us more of the same on North Korea and on Trump. So we’ll skip over that to the interesting stuff.
- Today co-anchor Hoda Kotb
- Iranian Demonstrations/Protests
- What are we paying the Palestinians for?
- Logan Paul’s Suicide Video
- Head Mormon Dead at 90
Hoda Kotb has just become part of the first ever two-female co-anchor team of The Today Show, replacing Matt Lauer who was fired for sexual misconduct. The relevance of this is:
- It’s the highest-profile replacement of someone to fall to the #metoo movement
- The Today Show has never before had two female anchors.
Fair warning: This is macabre. YouTube star Logan Paul posted a video of finding an apparent suicide in Japan. He was reportedly not very somber about this, but subsequently has been bullied into several apologies.
This saturated the media due to the extreme nature, the pain of people whose loved ones have committed suicide (and their public reactions to any subsequent mention of suicide), the plethora of anti-suicide tips and the concern that publicizing a suicide would result in more suicides (called a contagion effect or copy-cat suicides.)
- While this “revolution” is against the “hard-liners”, it is an economic protest; Iran’s economy is doing poorly and unemployment is high.
- It’s the largest set of protests in eight years.
- President Obama ignored and neglected the 2008 protests, called “The Green Revolution,” in hopes of completing a nuclear treaty as a feather in his cap. That treaty took another seven years, but was completed in 2015, lifting economic sanctions.
- Every 90 days, the President must certify that Iran is complying, or those economic sanctions are re-imposed. (i.e. they are “waived” if Iran continues to obey.)
- These aren’t the only economic sanctions; Iran also has sanctions from the 1995 ban on “trade and investment” due to terrorism.
- Despite massive oil reserves, Iran’s economy isn’t doing very well. Causes include the U.S. being an exporter of oil, the Iranian oil industry needing modernization, and the Iranian government having been antagonistic to businesses and often arresting foreigners of all sorts on false charges of espionage.
President Trump has threatened to cease U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority.
What you need to know:
- The U.S. currently gives USD$370 million per year in direct aid and $290 million through the United States Agency for International Development, for a total of over USD$650 million/year. (It may be just the USD$370M that would be cut.)
- The U.S. is (was) the largest governmental donor. It’s a lot of money to Palestine.
- The Palestinians reward terrorists, giving monthly “salaries” of up to USD$3400/month to convicted and imprisoned terrorists, in total $140 Million per year.
- President Trump is also frustrated that Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas would not take part in a peace process with Israel and threatened terrorism for the U.S. recognizing Israel’s capital of Jerusalem.
- Probably not helping their case, Palestine had large riots against Trump specifically last week after the Jerusalem announcement.
- As you may recall from an earlier Fast Dispatch, President Trump just recently reduced U.N. funding by USD$285 Million also.
The Palestinian response was, oddly, “We weren’t doing what you want, so now you’re cutting aid? So now why should we do what you want?“ They may not have read his book.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints – more commonly known as Mormons – announced that their President, Thomas Monson, has died at age 90. Monson was President of the Mormon Church since 2008, and was known for his private visits to the needy and for opening the church up to research while maintaining a liturgical (or hard) line against gay marriage. Mormon membership grew under his tenure, largely from outside of the U.S.
Russell M. Nelson, age 93, is expected to be the next President due to Church laws on precedence. As the role of President is a life appointment, this may be a temporary appointment.